Terrestrial Invasive Species - Laws and Regulations (land-based species)

There are variety of regulations related to invasive species at the federal, state, and local levels and these are administered by many agencies. This page summarizes the laws and regulations relating to wild animals, plants, insects, and pathogens found on land. See aquatic invasive species laws for information on aquatic species.

Quick links to:

Terrestrial plants

State Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weeds - Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Federal Noxious Weeds - US Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA - APHIS)

Terrestrial animals - insects, plant pests, and diseases

State Plant Pest Act - Minnesota Department of Agriculture

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulates insects through the State Plant Pest Act. This includes, but is not limited to, an invasive species or any pest of plants, agricultural commodities, horticultural products, nursery stock, or noncultivated plants by organisms such as insects, snails, nematodes, fungi, viruses, bacterium, microorganisms, mycoplasma-like organisms, weeds, plants, and parasitic plants (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 18G, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 18J).

Federal Plant Pest Protection Act and Interstate Regulations on movement of pests - US Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS)

Forest pests – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forest Health Program oversees statutes related to forest and shade tree pest control.  Specifically, the DNR is charged with minimizing the loss or damage to forest resources by forest or shade tree pests and protecting all forests and lands from forest and shade tree pests (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 89).  The DNR can also define areas of pest infestation and apply prevention and control measures (89.53, 89.54, 89.55).  The DNR can require DNR approved firewood on DNR managed lands (89.551).

Terrestrial animals - vertebrates

State Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Species (wild animals and aquatic plants)

For complete current information on state statutes and rules regarding harmful invasive species, call the DNR Invasive Species Program at 651-259-5100, or visit the invasive species statutes and rules at the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

Prohibited invasive species (terrestrial animals)

Certain invasive species that can threaten natural resources and their use have been designated as prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. It is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research, or education. The prohibited invasive species in Minnesota include the following and any hybrids, cultivars, or varieties of the species listed below:

  • Mammals
  • Asian raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
  • European wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa)
  • European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
  • nutria (Mycocastor coypu)

Regulated invasive and unlisted nonnative species (terrestrial animals)

Regulated and unlisted invasive species are legal to possess, sell, buy, and transport, but they may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as being released or planted in public waters. The regulated invasive species are:

  • Birds
  • Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)
  • mute swan (Cygnus olor) *
  • Sichuan pheasant (Phasianus colchicus strachi)
  • *= species known to be in Minnesota

Unlisted nonnative species are those that are not prohibited, regulated, or unregulated.

Several steps must occur before an unlisted nonnative species may be legally released into a free-living state: an application and supporting information must be filed with the DNR by the individual proposing to release the species, a thorough evaluation by the DNR, and designation of the species into an appropriate classification.

See state invasive species permits for more information.

State Restricted species - Eurasian wild pigs and their hybrids (Sus scrofa subspecies and Sus scrofa hybrids) - under agricultural statues - (Minnesota Statutes, section 17.457). A person cannot import, possess, propagate, or transport, Eurasian wild boars and their hybrids, except by permit from the Commissioners of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Minnesota Statutes, section 84D.05). Escaped Eurasian wild boars and their hybrids must be reported to the Board of Animal Health and the Department of Natural Resources.

Federal Lacey Act/Injurious Wildlife- US Fish and Wildlife Service has current list of Injurious Wildlife at the national level.

Summary of regulating authorities related to invasive species

Regulatory Category (types of species)Agencies Involved

State Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Species (wild animals and aquatic plants)


Unlisted Nonnative Species* (wild animals and aquatic plants)


State Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weeds (terrestrial plants)

Rules: MDA

Enforcement: counties, townships and cities

State Restricted (wild boars)


State Plant Pest Act (insects and terrestrial plants)


Tribal Codes (aquatic plants and animals; terrestrial)


Federal Noxious Weeds (aquatic and terrestrial plants)


Federal Plant Protection Act (foreign plant pests and diseases)


Interstate Regulations to restrict movement of various pests


Federal Lacey Act / Injurious Wildlife (animals)


Federal/State ballast water regulations (aquatic organisms)

U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. EPA/MPCA

* Unlisted nonnative species are aquatic plants and wild animals that have not been subject to a risk assessment or classified by DNR. Any proposed introductions of these species must follow the process established in M.S. 84D. Information in table taken from the Minnesota State Management Plan for Invasive Species.

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